A new study just gave you the most achievable fitness goal of your adult life: Spend just 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) each week doing physical activity to become a far healthier human being.
Researchers found that people who spent just 2.5 hours per week exercising were far less likely to suffer heart attacks, stroke, or cardiovascular disease, and in general were far less likely to die. Specifically, the Lancet study—which followed 130,000 people in different countries over an average of seven years—found those who put in at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week had a 28 percent reduced risk of premature death and a 20 percent reduced risk of heart disease. The more someone exercised beyond that, the healthier they were.
And, adding to the good news, that exercise did not have to be at CrossFit levels of intensity, or even that of a 30-minute treadmill run. The paper suggested that just walking and doing household chores for those 150 minutes each week resulted in much healthier participants, just the same as putting that time in at the gym.
Basically, any physical activity that prevents you from sitting is extremely beneficial, including cheap(or free) physical activity.
“I would dispel the notion of having to put out money to be active,” Dr. Scott Lear, the study lead author, told Vox in an email. “Our findings indicate that non-recreational activity—work, housework, active transportation—is just as beneficial in reducing the risk for premature death and heart disease.”
Broken down, that’s about 21 minutes of moving your body per day. There’s really no way to argue that you don’t have time and/or energy for this minimal fitness commitment. Just sweep the floors more or take a lunchtime walk.
The results are probably pretty unsurprising to some. In fact, NHS guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, plus two days of strength training for those aged 19-64.
And just so we’re clear, if you’re exercising to train for a marathon, or working out to get the glutes you always envisioned, you’re probably gonna need to put in a little more effort. But if you’re exercising to improve your health, then those 2.5 hours will do you wonders.